By Maggie Harris
The first question my 12 year-old brother asked me when I arrived home for the holidays was, “Did you bring me a meat pie?” He has only ever been to town twice, and his favorite food is now a meat pie. Unfortunately for my brother, I was empty handed, and Natchitoches meat pies are something you can only find in Natchitoches. Like the Christmas Festival of Lights, Northwestern State University, and the Cane River Creole National Heritage area, meat pies are something that makes our town both unique and special.
To get home, I had to cross half-a-dozen states. Whenever we made stops, I found myself looking around and asking, “What do they get right here? What are they missing?” When I tally up the quality of their businesses, the hospitality of their citizens, and their general community spirit, each quaint small town and vibrant big city falls short. Other places can have neat attractions, or a “special sauce” that makes them unique—but I have yet to come across a place that is as special as Natchitoches.
What truly sets us apart from other towns, is how much someone not from Natchitoches can love Natchitoches. Tourists will often wander, accidentally, into the Chamber office, looking for the Tourism office. I like to take the chance to ask them how they are enjoying Natchitoches. I have never had anyone tell me about what a terrible time they were having. Tourists are always so happy to have found Natchitoches, and eager to visit again.
I love to talk about this town to the people I meet in other places, as much as I love to talk about our Chamber. See, our Chamber is a part of what makes our town the Best Southern Small Town in America. You may think me biased, but hear me out. The Chamber serves all of Natchitoches: the city, the parish, and the surrounding area. We have been around since 1919. Since our founding, we have always promoted the businesses of Natchitoches. The businesses of Natchitoches—our restaurants, our stores, our manufacturers—are the backbone of Natchitoches. When businesses are doing well, we are doing well. The Chamber provides businesses with the tools and the uniting voice for continued success and prosperity.
We have a hashtag, “#InvestNChamber”. The idea is that “N” stands for both Natchitoches and the word “in”. The belief is that an investment in the Chamber is an investment in Natchitoches. We are committed to making sure that Natchitoches keeps that special something alive, that makes us so unique.